26 Jun

Aphasia Awareness Month 

IMAGE: Getty Images.

Aphasia Awareness Month 

This month we acknowledge Aphasia Awareness Month, and the effect it has on the community. In early 2022 action star Bruce Willis publicly announced that he had aphasia, the condition was thrown into the public eye as everyone tried to work out what was happening to one of Hollywood’s biggest stars of all time. 

Just like Bruce Willis, people with aphasia struggle to understand and produce language in a comprehensible way. Typically, this is the result of some form of damage to the left side of the brain, also known as the “language competent’ half of the brain. It can be caused by multiple things but is very common after a brain injury or stroke. 

Aphasia makes it difficult to participate in conversation, comprehend jokes, understand sarcasm, write a letter, use a phone, how to use money or understand numbers. 

Living with aphasia  

There is no cure for aphasia, but there are ways for people to improve or maintain their ability to comprehend language through speech and language therapy. These therapies will increase an individual’s potential to function effectively in their own environment, facilitate meaningful relationships and restore self-esteem and independence. 

Communicating with someone with aphasia  

It’s important to be aware that even though people with aphasia will have a limited ability to communicate with you, they’re still able to understand and comprehend substantial amounts of information – continue to speak and respect them as you usually would.  

When communicating with people with aphasia you can make conversations easier by shortening your sentences, asking simpler questions, giving them visual cues and being expressive when you engage with them. When they’re trying to communicate with you, allow them the time to finish their ideas and ask simpler questions – even keeping it to ‘yes or no’ questions.  It is important to remember not to do any of these in a patronising way. 

To read more about Aphasia head to our website here.